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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Batemans Bay Bushwalkers follow the tracks of history

Hume and Hovell Camp

12-16 December 2022 The Hume and Hovell Track, between Yass and Albury, is 426km long and passes through a wonderful mixture of regional NSW landscapes – riverside corridors, grazing lands, woodlands, open and closed forest, pine plantations, sub alpine swamps and snow gum highlands. It has it all. The Hume and Hovell track, conceived in the 1970’s and opened in 1988, closely follows the original exploration route of 1824.

On this occasion, over five days, nine BBBW members sampled some of the best of the Track in its western section near Tumbarumba. We had four days of walking and one enforced rest day. This western area was relatively unscathed from the 2019/20 bushfires compared to the east where an inferno, in a few hours, wiped out most of the Batlow pine plantations and the Tumbarumba high country alpine ash forests. Our walks passed through both burnt and unburnt lands. Three years after the fires, our selected area of walking was in good condition. The Riverina Highlands has had a run of good seasons and above average rainfall, so the landscape was a picture postcard of green grasslands, pine forests, full canopied trees and running rivers, creeks and gullies. We set up base camp in the delightful Tumbarumba Caravan Park and contemplated the weather forecast – showers, maximum temperature 15 degrees, minimum 5 degrees, snow down to 1000mtrs, some frost patches. Gee, this was not what we expected in mid-December! Some rapid clothing adjustments had to be made but, in the ensuing days, the cooler temperatures made for excellent walking conditions.

[day 2] The first day was a washout, wind and rain all day. Some braved the rain and explored the nearby Adelong mining heritage area. Others enjoyed the Tumbarumba township highlights or played cards and drank coffee. Barry and Jill, camped on the bank of the fast-flowing Tumbarumba Creek were on flood watch, ready to evacuate if necessary. That night, the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers were triumphant in the Union Hotel trivia contest!

[day 2] On the second day we walked the 11km Lankeys Creek section and thoroughly enjoyed the open terrain of grazing lands, remnant woodland and the banks of a bubbling creek. An impressive brand-new suspension bridge, a wombat village, a paddock of camels and a defiant brown snake were memorable moments. That night, a local wine tasting session in Tumbarumba rounded off the day nicely. [day 3] Our third day was more strenuous, tackling a 17km between the Tooma Road and Mannus Lake. From an early start we followed Burra Creek downstream through old gold diggings and crossed Tumbarumba Creek before climbing 300mtrs to, and following, a high range. The track then drops down through pleasant open woodland to Mannus Lake. The creeks were in full majestic flow, tumbling and falling across granite slabs and boulders. We were in constant “roar” and some of the cascades were rather impressive. We very quickly had wet feet because some of the track was boggy, in some cases under water, and deviations through tall wet grass were necessary. At lunch, Rob was finally able to put on the spare pair of socks he has been carrying in his pack for six years!

The gold diggings were impressive, featuring a deep channel and a 200-metre long tunnel blasted out of solid granite. Down in the gorge where the Burra and Tumbarumba Creeks meet, we crossed a new bridge, only months old and already tested by floodwaters. After the steep climb out of the gorge and a traverse through badly burnt ridgetop forest we enjoyed pleasant walking through open woodland and meadow. We then descended to grazing land and followed an interesting arboretum strip planted some years ago with a variety of trees and shrubs. The banks of Mannus Lake, and our waiting cars, were a final welcome sight.

[day 3] We tackled an easier path on the fourth day, walking the 11km Munderoo section. Features of the day were pine trees, pine trees, echidnas, black Angus, more pine trees, more echidnas, a very healthy brown snake, White Winged Choughs, and yet again, more pine trees. On the way home we drove to Paddys River Falls and admired the now receding flood waters leap and churn their way toward the Murray River. Despite the high flow, we could stand at the base, and under the lip, of the falls and be impressed by the power of descending water in big volume.

[day 4] On our last day we went way west to the unburnt Tin Mines section of Woomargama National Park, almost to Albury. This high elevation range is a treat of western woodlands and granite rocks. Driving in on the Tin Mine Firetrail, we started at North’s Lookout on Mount Jergle and walked 11km west, descending to and through the Ferndale private pine plantation and on to Tunnel Road. Features of this day were the lovely eucalypt woodlands, granite slabs and tors, a view of Hume Reservoir, lightning struck trees, a Red Bellied Black Snake, traversing the boundary of a private pine plantation, and a lovely lunch spot at the cascades of Home Flat Creek.

[day 5] We drove home via the Murray River valley, checking out the cozy Jingellic village on the way. The more decadent among us were impressed with the free riverside campground and the wonderfully accessible pub right next door! Back in Tumbarumba, that night we lavished on pizza and on the stroll back to camp enjoyed a free ice cream at the town Xmas carnival in the wonderfully tree lined park. In summary, despite a first day lost to rain, it was a very successful week. The town of Tumbarumba proved to be an ideal base from which to explore the western sections of the Hume and Hovell Track. Over four days we sampled some picturesque Australian rural landscapes at their seasonal best, including the interesting and walker friendly western woodland forests. The walking conditions were generally very good, in favourable cool weather, and it was appreciated with excellent companions. Ian Photos courtesy of Gay, Tom, Mary, Rob, Barry and Ian.

Members are currently enjoying a summer break from bushwalking. Walks start again on Thursday 16 February 2023, and the Walks Program will be published a couple of weeks prior to that.

If you’re coming on a walk, consider completing our Emergency Information Form and slipping it into your First Aid Kit. You can find it on our website here WELCOME - We are a crew of around 150 members, with the shared goal of finding, exploring and enjoying the natural secrets of our corner of Australia.


NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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